Tess Behrens grew up in the Minneapolis suburb of Maple Grove, and swam for Maple Grove Senior High as well as Aquajets Swim Club in Eden Prairie. Tess was a Minnesota Class AA state champion in the 100 backstroke. She also competed in many high level meets with Aquajets, where she was a Junior National Champion and set several national age groups records as part of relay teams.
Attending the University of Minnesota to continue her swimming career, Tess was the Big Ten Champion in the 100 and 200 backstrokes in 2012, setting University of Minnesota records in both. In 2013, she was part of two winning relays at the Big Ten Championship, and was part of the Big Ten Champion team in 2012, 2013, and 2014. She was also an NCAA qualifier all four years at Minnesota.
While in college, Tess also competed at the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 100 and 200 backstrokes and the 50 and 100 freestyles.
Tess received her degrees in history and sociology from the University of Minnesota in 2014.